Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Easy Butter Buns

How many of you here love bread and breadmaking?

I don't know about you, but bread baking gives me this indescribable satisfaction. I find immense "syok-ness" (satisfaction) punching down my dough after its first round of proofing.

I then get all excited and happy to see my bread well-proofed and ready to be popped into the oven, but even more so when it comes fresh out of the oven smelling so, so good!

But my ultimate weakness is this - soft and fluffy bread, with rich fragrance and buttery flavour. I am drooling just looking at these pictures! Om nom nommmm...

I usually use the tangzhong method for bread making as it never fails me. I was a little skeptical when I stumbled across this easy butter buns recipe on Christine's Recipes one Sunday afternoon, but decided to give it a go anyways since I have all the ingredients in my pantry.

I'm extremely glad that I did, because this recipe turned out beautifully, with very little effort. I will definitely be making this again, and highly recommend it for bread-lovers.


Easy Butter Buns
Recipe by Christine's Recipes

Ingredients
  • 250g bread flour
  • 25g cake flour
  • 5g instant dry yeast
  • 15g milk powder
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100ml water, about 36°C
  • 80ml milk, about 36°C
  • 40g butter, softened at room temperature
  • whisked egg, for egg wash (I replaced with milk wash)

Method
  1. Prepare and grease an 8-inch round baking tin.
  2. Mix all ingredients (except butter) in a bread maker or knead by hand. When all the ingredients come together, knead in butter until the dough passes the thin membrane test.
  3. Roll it into a ball. Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let it proof until dough doubled in size, which takes about an hour.
  4. Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Knead each into a round, ball shape. Place them evenly in a lightly greased baking tin (shown in picture below). Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof until doubled in size, which takes approximately 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. About 5 to 10 minutes towards the end of proofing time, preheat oven to 170°C. Egg wash the dough portions. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Remove the buns from the oven and let it stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them out from the tin onto a wire rack, and they're ready to be served.
All shaped into cute, round balls, then left alone to proof. And this is what happened an hour later...

Wham! They've doubled in size, and almost reaching the rim. They've proofed well and are ready to be baked!

And voila! Here they are, beautiful buns, fresh out of the oven, smelling like a million dollars! ;)

Serve warm with butter if you like, or pair them with eggs and ham for breakfast. I had mine plain, with a hot cuppa tea. :)

The leftovers can be kept in an air-tight plastic bag or container, at room temperature.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Home-cooked Japanese Curry Udon & Negi Miso Chicken

Last weekend, I woke up craving sushi. Good sushi, to be precise. I knew instantly that my best bet would be Suzuran, which is just around the corner from The Boyfriend's.


I love that they make their sushi fresh to order, yum! I've had Suzuran's sushi a few times already now and they were always fresh and delicious. See below store details, if you're interested:

Suzuran on Urbanspoon
I also love that I got to do a quick run of Japanese groceries whilst I was there, waiting for the chef to prepare my sushi, which usually takes about 10 minutes or so.

I got heaps of stuff (which also included my first box of miso paste) and The Boyfriend was like "I thought you were only getting sushi?" when I returned to the car with a few bags. Opps! :P

I was very excited because I've been wanting to learn to cook Japanese food for a while now. *squeeeee!*


Japanese Curry Udon
Recipe adapted from Wen's Delight & modified by The Bakeanista

Ingredients:
  • 2 packet of udon noodles 
  • Half a leek (green parts only), thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 litre dashi stock (I used kombu)
  • 120g S&B Golden Curry roux 
  • Spring onion to garnish

Method:
  1. Boil enough water in a sauce pan to blanch the udon. Once soft and cooked, drain and set noodles aside in two separate bowls.
  2. In another pot, heat 1 tbsp of oil to saute leek and carrot on medium heat for approximately 3-5 minutes until wilted.
  3. Add dashi stock to boil, and let simmer until carrot is soft or reaches the texture you desire.
  4. Add in the curry roux, one tiny square at a time. I used 1 packet of 120g as I like my broth and curry thick so adjust accordingly.
  5. Taste and season accordingly with salt or chilli powder, if you like. Mine was just right.
  6. Serve curry broth over udon, then garnish with chopped spring onion. And tadah, you're done!!
It took me less than 20 minutes to prepare the curry udon. It is one of those dishes with a simple recipe yet taste so hearty and comforting.

The noodles were delicious on its own, but if you like, you could serve the udon with a side dish, like I did with the negi miso chicken.

The chicken was absolutely beautiful. I left it to cook a little longer as I wanted a charred effect, and boy oh boy, it was so unbelievably tasty! The Boyfriend gave me two thumbs up. ;)

I used this negi miso chicken recipe by one of my favourite Japanese recipe blogs - Just One Cookbook.

I have been following Nami's blog for a while now and have loved reading her recipes. They always look so enticing! *drools*

But what's best is that her recipes are very easy to follow. It is particularly great for beginners and amateurs as Nami shares step-by-step videos and pictures, along with clear instructions.

So yes, if you love Japanese food, but haven't already heard of Just One Cookbook, I urge that you do visit Nami's blog. ;)

As for me, I can't wait to cook the negi miso chicken again! It'll be great either with salad or Japanese rice, or even paired with soba. It was just absolutely divine, you really gotta try!

The Boyfriend and I both had a great meal and I am definitely a little more confident with attempting other Japanese recipes.

I hope if you too, have been wanting to try Japanese cooking, that you do give it a try. Good luck and happy cooking! :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Day Trip to Yarra Valley - Innocent Bystander, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery, and Yering Station

Can you believe it? I've lived in Melbourne for the past 8.5 years but I've never been to Yarra Valley up until last weekend.

I am embarrassed to admit it considering how close Yarra Valley is to the CBD, but I guess better late than never?

The Boyfriend and I took a short drive down to Yarra Valley and headed straight to Healesville for lunch at the popular Innocent Bystander Restaurant of which I made sure to book a day prior.

We kick started with these beautiful drinks. The Boyfriend had the Moscato & Sipsmith Summer Cocktail ($11) and I, on the other hand, chose the Moscato Granita ($11).

Both the drinks were brilliant! My Moscato Granita was sweet (but not overwhelmingly so) and very refreshing. I also had a sip of The Boyfriend's cocktail and I like how thirst-quenching it was.

To say that I love Innocent Bystander's pink moscato would be an understatement. Even though I've never been to the Yarra Valley, I've had the moscato a few times before and absolutely adore it.

We bought two big bottles home and I can't wait to open them! I may not a big wine drinker, but I do love my moscato and dessert wines. ;)

I've also heard a lot about Innocent Bystander's wood fire pizzas, so The Boyfriend and I decided we'd order one to share.

We opted for the spicy pork sausage, buffalo mozzarella, San Marzano tomato and chilli on organic sourdough base ($24).

It was divine; the base was thin, and the pizza although full of flavour, wasn't too heavy. If you're a big eater, you could easily finish one whole pizza by yourself.

My only complaint would be the lack of buffalo mozzarella. It would have been perfect with just an extra dollop or two of the cheese.

Three slices of pizza later, I was filled up, but The Boyfriend wanted more so we ordered the truffle and parmesan frites to share.

It was fantastic, yes, but I thought $11 was a lot to pay for a bowl of French fries. Plus, I found the fries a tad too salty for my liking.

The Boyfriend on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed it. I guess if you love your fries, then this is a must-order.

To wrap up, we ordered a canelĂ© ($4) to share. It was my first time trying a canelĂ© and I absolutely LOVED it! I really like how soft and custard-like the inside of the pastry is.

Paired with a thick and dark caramelized crust, I now finally understand why others rave about this little gem. It was also The Boyfriend's first try, and I could tell he was very impressed. ;)

Just as we were walking out the door, I spotted their bread stand and could not resist the organic sourdough loaf.

The Boyfriend and I bought a loaf home for dinner, and he claims it to be one of the best. That's a big claim considering how much he loves his sourdough. One day I will learn to make it for him, so he gets a loaf each week. I should get cracking on my starter soon! ;)

Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon
All in all, we both had a great experience at Innocent Bystander. Food and drinks were both great, and the wait staff were also very attentive and friendly. We'll definitely be back to try the other items off their menu. I promise it won't be another 8 years before I visit again. ;)

**********

Next stop after lunch was a short 15 minutes drive over to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. As its name suggest, there were a HUGE variety of chocolate, desserts and ice cream available to have in-store and to take-away.

It was a lot of fun seeing how chocolate was made, and just to see how much one can do with chocolate.

The Boyfriend and I were like kids (we're after all pretty young at heart) as we stood watching bars of chocolates going through their final chocolate coating as they travel along on a long conveyor belt at 8°C before emerging on the other end, all ready to be packaged.

There were also big, gigantic bowls of dark, white and chocolate chocolates to sample. But as I was immersed in all the chocolate, imagining myself in Willy Wonka's world, I've conveniently forgotten to take any other pictures of the chocolaterie.

The Boyfriend and I were still full from lunch, but thought we should at the very least try the ice cream.

We opted for the praline milk chocolate flavour to share and boy, it was one of the biggest scoop of ice cream we've ever been served, but divine, creamy goodness nonetheless.

A group of old ladies about 70-ish in age, were going all "OHHHH MY LORDDDD!!!" at how massive each scoop was. One of them said it at least 10 times and it was very cute of them - bless their little heart.

Before we left, The Boyfriend also bought me some premium hand-crafted truffles to take home. I love how pretty each individual chocolate looks and the packaging is really beautiful too.

I chose (clockwise from top) the macadamia, strawberry, mango, hazelnut, raspberry sweetheart and apple cider. I've yet to try them yet, but I will dig into them tonight. ;)

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

**********

Before we headed home, we made it a point to stop by Yering Station Winery on our way as I remember seeing how beautiful the winery looks in pictures.

I wanted to do a bit of wine tasting, but there were way too many people in queue, so I didn't get a chance. Although I didn't manage to do any wine tasting, I'm glad we stopped by anyway.

Yering Station is beautiful - the view from the restaurant in particular was stunning. I am hoping to return one day to dine here *wink wink at The Boyfriend* hehehe.

We took a slow stroll around the art gallery, digesting that massive ice cream and taking a couple of pictures along the way before we headed back home.

A big thank you to The Boyfriend for taking me on this short day trip - it was loads of fun! We should get out of town a little more often. ;)

As for you, my fellow readers, I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you haven't already been to Yarra Valley, I urge that you plan a visit soon. Maybe this weekend? The weather's looking pretty good with a top of 26°C. ;)
Click on 'OLDER POSTS' for more! :)